WCW Monday Nitro – February 19, 1996
Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Bischoff welcomes the audience. “If you love wrestling, he says, there’s only one place to be.” But wait Eric, over on Raw it’s “Larry Fling Live” with special guest Billionaire Ted! Oh yeah, the World Heavyweight Title is at stake in the Main Event here on Nitro, forgive me. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair defends against “Macho Man” Randy Savage in the return match from SuperBrawl VI plus, in a “Revenge Match,” “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson again battles Hulk Hogan after defeating him last week (as The Hulkster again fell victim to Woman’s size 7 high heel shoe!). Bischoff points out Hogan has never lost to the same man twice. That’s sad, but true.
Match 1: “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson w/ Woman vs. Hulk Hogan
Result/Analysis: Anderson via DQ (7:04). Savage ran interference to prevent The Taskmaster from interference but referee Nick Patrick only notices Savage in the ring and grants AA the decision. Ever the good soldier, Anderson allows Hogan the entirety of the match to give him a whuppin to stroke Hogan’s ego for doing the job last week. Mongo has the line of the match as he summarizes Hogan’s loss to AA last week as that he was perpetrated on. Ha! Hogan blocks Anderson’s DDT attempt, levels him with the big boot and applies the figure-four as a jab attempt at Flair. The interference follows before AA can say no mas and Hulk has lost twice in a row to someone!
Match 2: “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright vs. Loch Ness w/ Jimmy Hart
Result/Analysis: Loch Ness via pinfall (2:22) with an elbow drop. Wright throws the proverbial kitchen sink at Loch Ness to no avail in a designed squash. Wright’s career was being wasted. If only he had headed North. Loch Ness, the latest “monster” foil, no pun intended, of The Dungeon of Doom, was being pushed for a feud with Hogan. Can you imagine how wretched those matches would be? Unsightly? Displeasing? Fugly? Those descriptions all mean the same thing. Heenan says, “he gives new meaning to the name mud slide” to which Bischoff retorts, “sponge, ought to take care of it.” Poor “Das Wunderkind” just became “Das Wunderflat.”
WCW Saturday Night: Chris Benoit vs. Johnny B. Badd for the World Television Title, Scott Armstrong challenges Konnan for the U.S. Heavyweight Title, The Road Warriors in tag-team action and Sting/Lex Luger defend the World Tag-Team Titles against Public Enemy. Not bad.
Match 3: The Belfast Bruiser vs. Brad Armstrong
Result/Analysis: The Belfast Bruiser via pinfall (6:51) following a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. The Belfast Bruiser a/k/a Fit Finlay was embroiled in a feud with “Lord” Steven Regal, with Regal often interfering in his matches. Finlay and Regal are on the card at the Uncensored pay-per-view that’s next on the WCW calendar on March 24. Brad Armstrong, a long-time stalwart of WCW, previously the NWA, had just made his return to work in the upstart Cruiserweight Division that was set to be launched. I always enjoyed Armstrong’s work and he’s a very forgotten / underrated wrestler historically. HOF broadcaster Jim Ross, he, for one, would surely know, stated this so, too, at Armstrong’s funeral in 2012. True to his name, The Belfast Bruiser bruises Armstrong throughout the match. Finlay always worked stiff, which created a sense of realism to his matches. His legacy is how he trained both men and women to greater heights. The match is nothing but two pro’s wrestling as if it were the mid-1980’s instead of the mid-1990’s. The crowd is apathetic but what did they know?
Match 4: WCW World Heavyweight Championship
“The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (c) w/ Woman & Elizabeth vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Result/Analysis: Flair via pinfall (11:32) following outside interference by Arn Anderson. Naitch and Macho do their thing for the 100th time, it feels like anyways in under two months, which, of course is a fine match, until the tainted finish allows Flair to retain the belt. The Taskmaster first comes out. He’s immediately followed by Hogan. Savage had intercepted Woman’s Size 7 high heel of doom and clocked Flair with it only for a false kickout to happen as Anderson fails to make it to the ring in time. Oh boy. Referee Nick Patrick thus allows himself to be distracted by Hogan and Taskmaster exchanging blows as AA DDT’s Savage and rolls Flair on top for the pin. Afterward, The Booty Man debuts, no longer Zodiac of The Dungeon of Doom, and he’s clear-as-day Brutus Beefcake in the flesh, although the broadcast team in unison feigns cluelessness altogether. That’s just a whole new level of bad, even by WCW standards and practices. LOL. Booty Man helps The Mega-Powers clear the ring. The faces all but annex the broadcast table, well Heenan clears out, and voice to “Mean” Gene Okerlund their desire for a six-man tag-team match next week against Anderson, Flair and The Taskmaster. Bischoff informs them he’ll see to it the match happens. Hogan the booker, has arrived. But just wait, the creative direction in the weeks ahead really circle the drain!
The Verdict: Hogan had unsurped creative control of WCW worse than The Kliq ever did in their WWF power trip politicking around the same time. The 02/19/96 Nitro is one of the worst. Raw was porous enough on this same night (read The Verdict on that) but Hogan just had to be the center of attention and elevate his best friends, notably Ed Leslie, now in his latest atrocious gimmick as The Booty Man. Meanwhile, the WCW Tag-Team Champions were relegated to appearances on WCW Saturday Night. Loch Ness had become a weekly fixture in squash matches over mid-card talent. And The Four Horsemen had become, in essence, Flair, Anderson, Woman and Elizabeth. Garbage.